As he was being fitted for his gold Pro Football Hall of Fame sports coat, former Chiefs guard Will Shields’ life came full circle.
Shields, elected to the Hall of Fame class of 2015 last weekend, noticed the iconic jackets were made by Haggar Clothing. The brand was familiar to him because Shields’ late mother, Rosie, worked for years on the line for Haggar, pressing pants before they were boxed and shipped, while he grew up in Lawton, Okla.
“I asked the guy, ‘You used to have a plant in Oklahoma, didn’t you?” Shields said on Wednesday after arriving home in Kansas City from Super Bowl and Hall of Fame festivities. “He said, yes …’
“I told him, ‘My mom used to work for your company back in the day. Now you get to make me a jacket from scratch that no one else will be able to hold onto.’
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“Just to think that my mom used to work for the company that is making the jacket for me to wear in to the Hall of Fame is really surreal. Since my mom has passed, it’s one of those things that gives me a connection again.”
Shields, 43, still hasn’t decided who will present him at the Hall of Fame ceremonies on Aug. 8 in Canton, Ohio, because he hasn’t discussed it with his wife, Senia, since his election.
In fact, he hasn’t seen his wife in almost a week, because while he was in Phoenix, she was attending their children’s college basketball games, including son Shavon’s game on Tuesday night in Lincoln, Neb., where he scored the 1,000th point of his career at Nebraska, which is Shields’ alma mater.
“I’m proud of him,” Shields said. “For him to score 1,000 points being a junior, that is pretty cool.”
Shields, a 12-time Pro Bowl guard for the Chiefs during 1993-2006, was still letting it sink in that he was elected to the Hall of Fame last Saturday in his fourth year of eligibility.
“Right now, your head is spinning …” he said. “It’s still sort of new. You’re still thinking about, ‘Am I really in? Am I really part of this elite group?’ Being a lineman …It’s been a couple of years waiting. That’s part of it. You didn’t know whether you were going to wait four, five, seven, eight, nine years … There’s guys who have waited 30 years. After you didn’t make it the first couple of years, you think it could be a long wait.”
And then, he got that knock on his door at his hotel in Phoenix.
“They came to the room, knocked on the door, had cameras around,” Shields said of the Hall of Fame’s notifying him. “They gave you a big, hearty hug and said, ‘You’re part of this group.’ It made it unique and special.
“The year before, I got the knock on the door, and it was a lady standing there saying, ‘Sorry, you didn’t make it in. But hopefully next year.’ It’s a sigh of relief, but it’s a validation that all the work, you put in, you’ve made it, and now you’re part of this unique group that’s really hard to be part of.”